The government’s popular Car Allowance Rebate System, better known as Cash for Clunkers, is credited with driving sales through August, resulting in the first month-to-month increase since October 2007. “These improved numbers are exactly what dealers hoped for from August. Cash for clunkers was an unparalleled success,” said Wisconsin auto dealer and AIADA Chairman Russ Darrow. “The focus now is on speeding Clunkers reimbursements to dealers. Cash flow is the lifeblood of small businesses, and dealers need those funds to pay our own employees.”
International Brands Build Market Share
According to numbers from Autodata Corp., international brands sold 747,689 vehicles in August, up from 562,988 in July and 683,328 in August 2008. Asian brands accounted for 52.3 percent of the market, up from 48.7 percent in July 2009, and Europeans had a 6.9 percent share, down from 7.8 in July. Domestic brands finished the month with 40.8 percent of the market, down from 43.6 in July.
Top Selling Vehicles
Seven of the top ten selling vehicles in August were international makes, up from six in July. Thanks in part to Clunkers sales, the Toyota Camry took the number one spot away from the Ford F Series pickup for the first time since April 2009. The Hyundai Elantra also benefitted from the program, making the top ten for the first time, moving from the number 17 spot to number ten. International vehicles held 11 of the top 20 vehicle slots for the month of August. Eight of the 10 cars that saw the most sales through the Clunkers program were international makes. Honda and Toyota dominated the Clunkers list with three vehicles from each brand making the top ten.
Trucks vs. Cars
In July, consumers purchased more Asian cars than domestic light trucks by a difference of 146,026 units. In July, the difference was just 58,648 units. This trend, which began in March of this year, is expected to grow as international vehicle shares continue to rise. Purchases of small cars, like the Hyundai Accent and Kia Spectra, accounted for 22.2 percent of auto sales in July, up from 20.5 percent in June.
In total, manufacturers sold 1,261,977 million cars in August, exceeding the 1 million mark for the first time since August 2008. The combination of pent up demand, and the availably of $3,500 and $4,500 government vouchers, brought consumers back to dealerships in droves. As a result, the industry’s seasonally adjusted sales rate, or SAAR, spiked from a predicted 11.2 million in July to 14.1 million in August – the highest rate since May 2008
See below for a complete breakdown of August 2009 monthly and year-to-date sales by international nameplate